tv Democracy Now LINKTV October 2, 2014 8:00am-9:01am PDT
10/02/14 10/02/14 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica this is democracy now. >> as i speak for the servicemen and women flying in the skies over iraq, they saw action yesterday and there will be troops on the front line, but they will be iraqis, kurds, and syrians fighting for the safe and democratic future that they deserve. >> as britain joins the u.s.-led bombing campaign in iraq and syria, talk of ground troops grows louder. we will speak with iraqi poet and professor sinan antoon on the latest war to devastate his
home country. then we look at henry kissinger's shocking plan to attack cuba in the mid-1970s. >> what is new about the story we have broken in this book is that kissinger went into president ford's oval office and said, we have to smash the cubans. i'm in favor of humiliating them, that tips greek fidel castro, who does he think he has? >> we will speak with peter kornbluh and william leogrande, authors of a new book and what it means between u.s. and cuba relations today. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the islamic state militants have reportedly made advances in both iraq and syria despite the escalating us-led bombing.
in iraq, militants are said to have seized control of the town of heet and bar province. turkish, advanced on temps forcing tens of thousands to flee in recent days. united nations meanwhile says over 1100 iraqis were killed in violence last month. the actual toll is far higher because it does not include deaths in areas controlled by the islamic state. the u.n. says from the islamic state carried out mass executions, abducted women and girls as sex slaves, and used shuddered as fighters. the yuan also says airstrikes by the iraqi government have caused significant civilian deaths and injuries. including 40eople 17 have died in 20 outside of no homs. school in the attack at a neighborhood mostly inhabited right numbers of the second president bashar
al-assad belongs to. more on iraq, syria, and u.s.-led bombings after the headlines. in hong kong, protest leaders have issued a midnight deadline for the city's top official to resign or face the occupation of government buildings. thousands of people remain in the streets in the fifth day of protests against china's plan to select candidates in hong kong's 2017 elections. the demonstrations mark the biggest challenge to china's control of hong kong since it retook authority from britain in 1997. the head of the secret service has resigned after major security lapses in the protection of president obama. julia pierson's departure comes amidst an uproar over an armed intruder making it inside the white house last week, after scaling a fence, running across the lawn, and entering through an unlocked door. the secret service later admitted that an armed security guard with a criminal record was allowed to ride in the same elevator as president obama in atlanta earlier this month.
white house press secretary josh earnest announced the news. >> director pierson offered her record -- resignation today because she believed it was in the best interest of the agency to which she has dedicated her career. the secretary agreed with that assessment. the president did as well. over the last several days, we've seen recent and committing reports raising questions about the performance of the agency. the president concluded new leadership of that agency was required. >> the white house says it was only informed of the elevator incident shortly before it was revealed in a news report this week. pierson had initially been appointed after a 2012 scandal where a dozen secret service agents solicited prostitutes in colombia. a florida jury has convicted michael dunn of first-degree murder for killing 17-year old jordan davis in an argument over loud music at a gas station in jacksonville. it was dunn's second trial after
a jury deadlocked on the first-degree charge earlier this year. dunn, who is white, shot at the vehicle carrying davis and his friends 10 times. he then fled the scene, went to a hotel with his fiancée and ordered pizza. he never called the police. the first jury had convicted dunn of three counts of attempted murder for shooting at davis' friends, who survived. after the new verdict on wednesday, davis' mother, lucy mcbath, said it marked a victory for all black victims of racial profiling. >> we are very grateful that justice has been served. justice, not only for jordan, but justice for trayvon and justice for all the nameless faces and shoving and people that will never have a voice. >> dunn faces up to life in prison without parole. a tentative sentencing hearing has been set for october 17. health officials say up to 18
people may have been exposed to the ebola virus carried by the first known patient diagnosed in the united states. on wednesday, texas governor rick perry said five children have been identified and are being monitored. >> today we learned some school-aged children have been identified as having had contact with the patient and are now being monitored at home for any signs of the disease. i know that cancer game i knowly concerned -- that parents are being extremely concerned about that development, but let me reassure you that these children have it identified and are being monitored and the disease cannot be transmitted before having any symptoms. >> the patient, identified as thomas eric duncan, apparently contracted the virus in liberia when he helped an ebola victim to the hospital. after arriving in the u.s., duncan visited a dallas hospital
last week complaining of health issues. but he was sent home despite informing staff he was recently in liberia. he was then brought i ambulance back to the hospital as he got sicker. president obama has hosted israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu at the white house. the meeting comes days after netanyahu gave a u.n. general assembly address attempting to link the militant group islamic state to hamas and liken it to iran. in his comments, obama said he hoped to revive stagnant u.s.-backed peace talks. >> we have to find ways to change the status quo so that both israeli citizens are safe in their own homes and schoolchildren in their schools from the possibility of rocket fire, but also that we don't have the tragedy of palestinian children being killed as well.
so we will discuss extensively both the situation in rebuilding gaza, but also how can we find a more sustainable peace between israelis and palestinians. >> netanyahu's visit comes just as israel moved ahead with the building of new settlements in occupied east jerusalem and the takeover of around 25 palestinian homes in the neighborhood of silwan. obama did not issue any public criticism but reportedly raised the issue with netanyahu in private. white house press secretary called israel's latest actions "very troubling." >> the united states is deeply concerned by reports the israeli government has moved forward with the planning process in the sensitive area or in a sensitive area of east jerusalem. the step is contrary to israel stated goal of negotiating a permanent status agreement with the palestinians and would send a very troubling message if they were to proceed with tenders or construction in that area.
>> in response to the white house, netanyahu said -- "it is better to know the material before deciding to take such a stance." the news comes as palestinian president mahmoud abbas has confirmed he's submitted a proposal asking the united nations security council to set a deadline of november 2016 for israel's withdrawal from the occupied west bank. an estimated 35,000 walruses have gathered on a beach in northwest alaska as their natural resting grounds have disappeared due to climate change. walruses usually gather to rest on sea ice offshore. but as the earth warms, they have begun appearing on beaches in recent years. the recent discovery of 35,000 marks the largest number ever recorded on land. the federal aviation authority has re-routed flights to avoid scaring the walruses amidst fears of a massive and deadly stampede. the los angeles city council
a bill that would increase pay to $15.37 per hour for hotel industry trade groups that vocally oppose the bill and are preparing a legal challenge if mayor eric garcetti signs it into law. and this are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. >> welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. militants from the islamic state have reportedly made advances in both iraq and syria over the past 24 hours despite the escalating u.s.-led air campaign. in iraq, militants are said to have seized control of 90% of the town of heet in the province of anbar. in syria, militants have advanced on kurdish towns near the turkish border, forcing tens of thousands of syrian kurds to flee across the border in recent days. the advances by the islamic state come as british prime minister david cameron
acknowledged ground troops will be needed to fight the militants in iraq and syria. >> these people, they are evil, pure and simple. they kill children, raped women, threatened nonbelievers with journalists and aid workers. some people seem to think we can opt out of this. we can't. as i speak, british servicemen and women are flying in the skies over iraq. they saw action yesterday. and there will be troops on the front line, but they will be iraqis, kurds, and syrians fighting for the safe and democratic future that they deserve. >> on wednesday the united nations revealed at least 1,119 iraqis were killed in violence in september but the actual toll is far higher because the u.n. figure does not include deaths in areas controlled by the islamic state. the u.n. report said militants from the islamic state carried out mass executions, abducted
women and girls as sex slaves, and used children as fighters in systematic violations that may amount to war crimes. the u.n. also criticized the iraqi government for causing "significant civilian deaths" by carrying out air strikes on villages, a school and hospitals in violation of international law. >> this comes as the white house has confirmed it has relaxed standards aimed at preventing civilian deaths for the u.s. airstrikes in iraq and syria. according to yahoo! news, the obama administration has acknowledged that a policy announced last year calling for "near certainty" of no civilian casualties in drone strikes will not apply to the current bombing. the admission came in response to queries about a strike that killed up to a dozen civilians in the syrian village of kafr deryan last week. to talk more about the crisis in iraq and syria we are joined by sinan antoon. he is an iraqi poet, novelist and translator. he is a professor at new york university, where he teaches arabic literature. his most recent book translated
into english is called, "the corpse washer." he is here and now new york studio. your response to the u.s. bombing and now expanded to britain and they say other allies are supporting the bombing of iraq, your home country? >> my response is this is just more of the same that we have been having in the so-called war on terror. i fail to see what this is supposed to produce. what is the vision for the region that will emerge or what will happen on the ground after all of this warming? we know from previous experiences that this type of action, military, indiscriminate military bombing in the approach that the united states and its allies arguing -- are using will only create more terrorism, create conditions in which groups such as isis but with
different names will emerge. it is not a solution at all, but sadly am a most of the population seems to be behind this decision. so that is my response. it is the response of a lot of people on the ground in iraq and the isis are not with regime, they are against it, but arrogance this type of military bombing. it has now produced a supposedly resulted promised. >> how do you respond to the people who say the brutality of the islamic state that it warranted some kind of military response? weakening isis? we just are this morning that taken over another city in western iraq will stop there almost one mile away from baghdad. the way they operate, their very mobile, more fluid, and the iraqi army with all of its problems that have caused this, is really not in a position to fight isis. it does not seem so.
it is not going to change overnight. might change the opinions in london and washington, but on the ground, it doesn't seem they are making a difference. isis will go on beheading. they've occupied new towns. in a way, similar to what happened, a victory here, but the taliban are still there, aren't they? paradoxical thing about this war on terror, it keeps on producing more terror. it is an in lessor. >> explain who isis is, the forces of the islamic state. the islamic state in iraq which was operating for five years ago, but it is an away -- we go back to 2003, it is the descendent of one of those groups that left afghanistan and came to iraq after 2003. but it is the product, in one
way, the situation created in iraq because of the u.s. invasion of dismantling the iraqi state and in creating a state that is so weak and corrupt that it cannot really deliver services, nor can it protect the borders of its citizens. iraq, like afghanistan early on way before, became a place where the borders are porous and permeable so a lot of the angry young man, a lot of potential terrorists, can go to iraq and do whatever they want. the crisis in syria in the last two or three years also made more chaos possible in the iraq-syria border was very easy to cross in both directions, so reign in isis free those areas. in addition to that, we cannot forget nor underestimate the way the maliki government dealt with its own political problems and certain parts of the country --
in certain parts of the country by not responding to the demands of a lot of protesters by labeling all opposition as terrorists. , largen before mosul parts of western iraq had fallen to isil already. this is all just more of the same. >> maliki got billions from the united states in his years as prima mr.. >> yes, of course, he did. all of these symptoms were all there. we know in the past five or six years the iraqi regime is the most corrupt regime in the entire world. the military itself, the iraq he army is very corrupt. they are inefficient. there are all of these teams of soldiers who never show up actually and officers take their salaries. sunnis out of the office and antagonize them, serving in the military, etc.
do you think if the u.s. had not short him up to the extent that they did, he would have fallen earlier? >> i really don't know. i don't think it matters right now. the problem is now we're dealing with a consequences not just of maliki's politics, but everything that has been happening for the last eight years. really a really having vision or strategy. i just want to point out that it is important to remember the timing of the was intervention. isis took over mosul and took over all of these villages and it is only when i says was close to where there is a cia office and there are corporate oil interests that then the united states moved much faster. again, we all was have to repeat that. this has nothing to do with the humanitarian issues. nothing at all.
you would think that we would learn that humanitarian issues are not the reason why there's an intervention. we always have to look at your politics, and maybe, of course, jim and with some opposition or voices of criticism in the metropolis. >> over the weekend, president obama spoke on "60 minutes" and said the u.s. did not foresee the rise of the islamic state. let's go to a clip. >> underestimated what have been taking place in syria. essentially, what happened with isil was, you had al qaeda in iraq which was a vicious group, but armor reams able to quash with the help of sunni tribes. they went back underground. over the past couple of years during the chaos of the syrian civil war, were essentially you have huge swaths of the country that are completely ungoverned, they were able to reconstitute
themselves and take advantage of that chaos. >> would you respond, sinan antoon, president obama speaking to cbs over the weekend? >> this is a centrist at narrative about how -- and marines were not able to quash it. that was not the case. again,also have to say, al qaeda in iraq is the product invasionted states' in iraq. he says the chaos, because of the syrian crisis. well, precisely. what was the united states position or strategy during the syrian crisis? it is not true -- there were so many critics and observers pointing out that not doing anything doesn't mean military intervention with the situation in syria was going to produce all of this chaos and mass of violence. it is not like we did not know the dangers involved. it is amazing that after everything that has happened in this country, here we go again.
it is the same scenario, in a way. failure, weigence underestimated, we did not know. it is quite sad, actually, and tragic. >> what do you think the main failures have been? >> they never really had a strategy. ok, i'm not one for military intervention necessarily or bombing, but there was never really a strategy. frankly, whether it is syria or iraq, the united states allies are all responsible for fueling this, turkey, you know, along these foreign fighters, terrorist, to go into syria and saudi arabia for funding these groups and saudi arabia for shipping so many of its young men who become terrorists to iraq. that was happening all the way from 2003. nothing was done really, for
iraq, to make sure the country's borders are protected. politics out of saudi arabia, qatar, jordan, uae, bahrain on joining with united states and now britain. can you respond to the iraqi prime minister, the current one, opposesaying he totally arab nations joining and airstrikes against the islamic state in iraq? >> i don't know, he is catering to his own constituents inside iraq. because, frankly, again, there's a paradox here. we know saudi arabia and qatar are financing and were supporting isis and all of these other factions in order to gain influence on the ground in syria and iraq. now they are participating in a bombing campaign against these groups that we know had financed. is this broad coalition that everyone is going on terror -- the war
also allows all of these regimes themselves to exploit the war on terror for their own internal agendas. i would understand why iraqis in the prime minister has problems with these countries coming in. there's the issue of sovereignty. it is terrible because the iraqi state doesn't have control over large swaths of the country, but also as one blogger said, the iraqi airspace is now just open for bombing. >> is iraq over as we know it? >> well, iraq has been changing. iraq is disintegrating, whether we like it or not. a lot of observers think it is on its way to some type of division. iraq, as we knew it, as we know it, it has been disintegrating since 2003, even before the
invasion and occupation in the system that the united states put in place perhaps accelerated all of these divisions and forces on the ground. but of course, you have a country in which there are major -- their major city is under the control of a terrorist organization. just recently, 1.5 million people who are displaced. we don't have any services. cities are falling as we speak. after all of these months of knowing the danger of isis, they are an hour away from the capital. i mean, no one knows what will happen to iraq exactly, but disintegration is more likely. once again, it is important to pose the question, what is this campaign supposed to produce? what kind of region is going to be in five or 10 years? obama and the others never tell us. what do they envision? endless wars in this region?
this is going to help create more disintegration and chaos. they're destroying the social fabric in killing these civilians. >> talk about what an alternative is. in the corporate media, the response is always, what are we supposed to do, nothing? as it diplomacy is doing nothing. but talk about what you think would be an approach for your country, for iraq, and syria as well. >> i don't know. we assume those in power have good intentions in regards to iraq and syria. but i would say a regional conference that brings in all of the states that are involved in have influence on the ground -- syria, turkey, iran, saudi arabia, qatar. revising, revision or and reconsideration of all of these policies. because obviously, they will only produce more of the same. >> you also said in a recent
piece he wrote for "washington post," in order to understand why iraq is in the state it is in, we have to look far before the u.s. invasion of 2003. could you elaborate on what was happening in iraq since the 1980's that led to the situation we are in now? >> yes, the piece i wrote was in response to the usual way in washington the mainstream media iraq is still with. going back to 2003 and speaking of mistakes is what i call the corporate approach, which is very a historical. not to the treated all to the u.s., but to understand how a country could disintegrate like that, one has to understand the effects of dictatorship and the buttarization of society frankly, and i said this many times before, one has to take into consideration in 1991, the
united states of america bombed back to the preindustrial age, to quote james baker. it destroyed the infrastructure of the country, which was very developed. and then the economic sanctions, which are the most severe in this century, were maintained until 2003. those economic sanctions really changed everything for the country. it drove its economy to near collapse. it drove at least 3 million mostly middle-class to leave the country. killed a lot of innocent civilians. the viewers know -- >> could you explain specifically what were the range of the extent of the sanctions iraq faced at that time? >> it did not allow iraq to export oil. it also barred it from in pointy -- importing many as the cities. this evil list that was supposed to be dual use items. so any item that could be
interpreted to be of dual use for military purposes, was banned. example wasegious lead pencils because the lead inside them somehow could be used to produce weapons. or ambulance cars because they could have a gun attached. early on, it -- was very obvious the sanctions were not weakening the regime but strengthening the regime. it was just hurting the innocent civilians. a lot of you and officials resign early on because it was unconscionable to be part of this policy. >> madeleine albright, then secretary of state, was asked if they must question on "60 minutes" that 500,000 children have died as result of sanctions. do you think the crisis is worth it. and she said yes. she later said when she was out of office that she regretted her answer. >> it are these short-term
solutions that end up in long-term disasters. let's face it. others, non-europeans, are disposable. they're not as worthy as other lives. >> what is iraq like today? >> what is iraq like today? >> everyday life. >> it is unimaginable for any of us because, you know, if you speak of services, people don't have electricity. everyone needs a generator. public safety. there are bombings every day almost, everywhere. the normal life that we all take for granted is not available to iraqis. they live in fear. they live under the threat of death at any moment. services are not provided in baghdad or other places. they don't know what type of
future they have. they're always living under the threat. living under the threat of isis and supposedly purcell's that are there. >> let's go to the iraqi pray minister in his own words. on wednesday, he spoke to the bbc. >> this threat is a threat to iraq, a threat to the coalition. let us work together in iraq to push that threat to limit that threat. now the golf states, the regional iran, national committee coalition [indiscernible] this a common interest to me were [indiscernible] . >> the arab states are not helping you, their bombing syria, not iraq. hugs. that, places places must be
illuminated in syria. eliminatedes must be in syria. that site is territory which is threatening iraq. speaking toabadi nbc on thursday. sinan antoon for you elaborate on point earlier about the internal agendas for some of these regional states, saudi arabia, qatar, etc.? andaudi arabia, $2000 sporting some factions forces in iraq that poor at times working against evolution found this crisis. theously, they don't have
interest of the iraqi population is either implicating him back because since 2003 but also before iraq was very weak. all of these countries and have more influence on the iraqi internal politics. most of the iraqi politicians are able to more or less on policy. that is a problem. it is at least two iran because a loan to the parties in the malicious and a lot of the sunni politicians also have been somehow drawn into either turkey or saudi arabia or qatar. that is the situation we live in. , the politicale class, is very, very corrupt. frankly, most of them are not patriotic. that is how most iraqis feel. they're very corrupt. >> sinan antoon, thank you for being with us, iraqi point, novelist, translator and teaches
arabic literature. his most recent book is called, "the corpse washer." englishlated it into himself. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. back, back channel to cuba. the hidden history of negotiations between washington and havana. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
formal negotiating session to explore normalized relations the twin united states and cuba. we spend the rest of the hour with the authors of a new book that exposes the secret history of dialogue between the united states and cuba. much of the book relies on recently declassified top secret documents. among the revelations are details of how then-u.s. secretary of state henry kissinger considered launching air strikes against cuba after fidel castro sent troops to support independence fighters in angola in 1976. in the years that followed, top secret u.s. emissaries, including former president jimmy carter and nobel prize-winning author gabriel garcia marquez, worked to normalize relations with cuba. the book's release comes as cuban leader raul castro is set to participate for the first time in next year's summit of the americas in panama. earlier this month, panama's foreign minister flew to havana to personally invite castro to attend for the first time. president obama has not said yet if he will attends the talks.
>> meanwhile, cuba has denounced the obama administration for extending the more than 50-year embargo. the white house authorized the trade embargo for another year in a little-noticed move in september. speaking before the u.n. general assembly, cuban foreign minister bruno rodríguez said u.s. restrictions on cuba have worsened under president obama. the state department has again included cuba in its unilateral and overture a list of states that sponsor international terrorism. its true purpose is to increase the persecution of our international financial transactions and the whole world justify the blockade policy. under the present administration, there is in an unprecedented tightening of extraterritorial character of the blockade. with remarkable and unheard-of emphasis on financial transactions through the onosition of multimillion
banks and institutions of third countries. >> for more we're joined by peter kornbluh william leogrande , authors of, "back channel to cuba: the hidden history of negotiations between washington and havana." directs the cuba documentation project at the national security archive. william leogrande is a professor of government at american university. you can read the introduction to their book on our website democracynow.org. the also wrote an article which is now on the nation's website headlined, "six lessons for obama on how to improve relations with cuba: the president knows u.s. policy has been a failure. here's how he can make a breakthrough, in the little time he has left." we will get to that, but william leogrande and peter kornbluh, welcome back to democracy now! peter, i want to start with you and the documents that you have got that i've never been revealed before, once again, showing how close the u.s. came that u.s. leaders were willing
to risk world peace and going after cuba. talk about henry kissinger. >> henry kissinger deserves much credit for taking the initiative to reach out to fidel castro through secret emissary, sending him a handwritten note saying, we should try and improve relations and let's set up secret mechanism to start talks. that was in the summer of 1974. a series of talks did take place culminating in an extraordinary three-hour meeting at the pure inel here in new york city july 1975. is always states wanted cuba to compromise either his foreign-policy or domestic policy to come to terms with the united states. fidel castro had a request from ,ugustine nieto in angola challenging the movement. castro sent troops into angola. kissinger was irate that a
pipsqueak, as he kept calling castro, would project military power into another continent and thwart kissinger's chessboard design of the cold war on that continent. he ordered of these contingency plans, which are now in the news and posted on the website of the national security archive. our book wrote this story of these documents. they were pretty powerful contingency plans for airstrikes, mining of the harbors of cuba, a naval blockade perhaps. in the oval office coming said to gerald ford, i think are going to have to smash cuba and get them out of africa. we might have to wait until after the 1976 elections. gerald ford last elections. >> carter came in and talk about what happened to those plans. >> carter did not pick up on those plans at all. yet it different perspective --
he had a completely different perspective of dealing with cuba and other countries with which we did not have close relations with. in fact, he told william leogrande and i would he interviewed with us, get a broader approach, civil dialogue, even relations -- positive relations with enemy states was much preferable to military hostilities. he also attempted or picked up on were kissinger had dropped the issue of trying to normalize seriesns and engage in a of secret meetings and talks with the cubans as well, which are detailed rather extensively in this book. >> william leogrande, can you talk about where you got access to these documents? why were they declassified now? how long did it take you to get access to them and how many documents did you gain access to? >> over the course of doing the research for this book, we looked literally at hundreds and hundreds of declassified documents. a law or declassified as a result of peter's work at the
national secure the archives because the archives really been a leader in forcing the u.s. government to declassify things that they would prefer not to through the freedom of information act. these particular documents and someone's that really were just released a few weeks ago continued to document this hidden history. we're all very familiar with 50 years, 55 years of hostility between cuba and the united states. what must people don't know is every president since eisenhower has negotiated with cuba about one issue or another. during a kissinger and carter years, it was about normalization of relations. another years, it is an about us all issues, but no less important ones like finding peace in southern africa. we were determined to unearth that history and getting these documents was the key link for being able to do that. >> how many times to the cuban
government take the initiative to open a dialogue with the u.s. in the same time you looked at? >> what is fascinating come the cubans repeatedly took the initiative to try to improve relations. essentially, every time a new u.s. president or administration came into office, fidel castro would make some sort of initiative. sometimes it was private through private emissaries and sometimes it was very public. in 1964, for example. the cubans repeatedly made an effort, which suggested to us in fact the cubans were really interested in trying to normalize the relationship with the united states, but not on any terms. ,uba has its own foreign-policy has its own domestic arrangements, and has never been willing to make major concessions in its foreign-policy or in its domestic social and political organization for better relations with the united states. for your conicling of the
negotiations that were taking place, even people in this country don't realize the hundreds of attempts on castro's life. you told an interesting story of a u.s. negotiator for the united states on the one hand negotiating and then he is being undermined by the cia. explain this story, to bring a gift to castro that will kill him. literally about this on the first page of the book. james donna for website non--- a lawyer.van was john f. kennedy victim to first when the bay of pigs visitors and then the ca send him back to win the release of three cia agents that fidel had in his jails. and arrange a prisoner swap there. he was doing confidence building work with castro, shuttle diplomacy back and forth from miami and brought him all sorts
of little gifts including a wetsuit, scuba diving suit, watch, snorkel, etc. when one branch of the cia, the active branch, found out he was going to be bringing this wetsuit, they concocted a plan to poison it. that a different poison for the historical -- >> put tuberculosis in the snorkel? >> yes, and i believe a special fungus in the wet suit. donovan had these handlers at the cia who like tim and were positive about his negotiating the release of their fellow cia guys in prison and possibly making progress a better relations with cuba. they basically said to him, we are going to keep control of this wetsuit in our possession so other people in the cia can never get it and can't contaminate it. that was an opening story to show the tug-of-war between some
people over the course of these years in u.s. government who really were focused on improving relations, and the hardliners who all they wanted to do was either assassinate fidel castro, start counterrevolution in cuba, and basically, bring the force of the u.s. down upon the cuban revolution. >> we're going to take a break and then come back to just a list of the times the attempts at negotiation and what was this tremendous force that prevented the opening of relations between cuba and the united states, and your recommendations for president obama. we're speaking with peter kornbluh and william leogrande, their new book is, "back channel to cuba: the hidden history of negotiations between washington and havana." ♪ [music break]
>> this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. our guests are the authors of a new book called, "back channel to cuba: the hidden history of negotiations between washington and havana." peter kornbluh and william leogrande. professor, start with these negotiations that we know so little about. they often take place in secret public.either were also >> in the eisenhower administration, the reference to prevent the breakdown in relations. during the kennedy administration, there were negotiations to release that they are pigs prisoners, the cia prisoners who were imprisoned, communications during the missile crisis. at the end of the kennedy administration, serious effort to try to open a dialogue through the united nations to normalize relations. kennedy saw the relations work angry with the soviet union in the aftermath of the missile crisis and thought it might be a
possibility to win the administration back. there was an effort using spain as an intermediary. in the next administration, negotiations for an anti-hijacking agreement. as we have talked a little bit about are ready, during the ford administration, a very serious effort leading to the pierre hotel to try to normalize negotiations. jimmy carter within his first month of office, signed a presidential directive sent he wanted to normalize indications with cuba and to open negotiations to do that. that broke down as a result of cuba's involvement in ethiopia. even after the cubans sent troops to ethiopia 1978, for the next several years of the administration, there were a whole series of secret meetings in washington, new york, atlanta, mexico and then havana itself. the reagan administration, who you would have expected to do
cuba, saidssible for secretary of state alexander haig to mexico to meet secretly rodriguez. and then to sign a migration agreement to try to resolve the abnormal migration relationship between the two countries. finally during the reagan administration, cuba was invited to participate in negotiations that ended the war in southern africa, leading to cuba's withdrawal from angola. during the bush administration, there wasn't so much success in terms of reaching agreements, but there was a dialogue around central america as well. during the clinton administration, there were a series of talks with the most important word -- normalized our migration relationship with cuba and the agreement in 1994 in which president jimmy carter and president salinas of mexico
served as intermediaries between the two governments. been a migration agreement in 1995 that was held so secretly for fear of domestic opposition in the united states that the national security agency, the nsa, was directed not to intercept the phone calls of the diplomat for fear that word would get out to the wider government there were negotiations going on. even during the bush administration, the second bush administration, there's a dialogue around counterterrorism cooperation. in,e president obama can we've seen continuing dialogue around the whole range of issues like counter narcotics, coast guard cooperation, oil spill mitigation, and so on. there's a long, long history of dialogue and a variety of successes on a number of issues. >> can i just add, this wonderful list of dialogue and covert overs, formal/informal he laid out was facilitated or the
last 50 years by a who's who of really colorful intermediaries. the political issues around talking to cuba are so sensitive that presidents felt they had to meteors, manyel who are not tied to the u.s. government in any way to bring messages back and forth. in the kennedy era, he had a pioneering female journalist, first female respondent for abc news lisa howard setting up her central park apartment is command central communication central for phone calls and messages between cuba and the united states. >> she reported them? >> she did not report them. write for ah magazine in the 1960's about her conversations with castro, but she never reported the secret communications. you have gabriel garcia marquez, nobel prize-winning writer being a secret intermediary between
castro and clinton. yet the chairman of the board of coca-cola pol austan faring messages back and forth. we tell that story. >> what was he doing? >> jimmy carter enlisted him. carter was from atlanta and they were friends. carter did not believe the bureaucracy and the state department and the white house even with support him in his efforts to reach out to castro, steve normal relations are possible, particularly in the wake of the ethiopia incursion of cuban troops. message sent a private to fidel castro with j paul austin -- >> in a coke bottle? >> austin wanted to bring coca-cola back to cuba. 1980, onlyn again in as a private emissary, only to find out he started suffering
from alzheimer's disease and could not effectively deliver the message -- in fact, delivered his own message to compromise the way this really needed to play out. >> what was his message? >> he's it was to in the mario boat crisis that threatened jimmy carter's election, quite frankly. it was a two-step process. that every thing would be on the table. instead, austan said, jimmy carter wants to have a summit with you before the end of the year. he wants you to come to the united states and he is going to talk to face-to-face and the u.s. will lift the embargo these areistmas and the first steps before actual serious negotiations take place. of course, this was not at all with the message was supposed to be. almost immediately, literally, only three or four days later,
high-level state department officials and how to tell castro that was not the correct message and in fact, they wanted a much more drawn out process for talks. carter was not reelected. one of the compelling things in our book come he told us when we interviewed him he now regrets he did not normalize relations during the first term because he never had a chance to do so during the second term. >> which brings us to president obama. talk about what you feel he should be doing. >> we have an article coming out in the nation magazine next week which lists the lessons of the history for barack obama. barack obama faces next are nary window of opportunity. he has been forced by the pressures of the other latin american countries to basically except the new reality. the united states can't keep excluding cuba from regional events without completely isolating itself. at the next summit of the americas, which takes place in
april 2015 and animal, is going to include cuba. barack obama, who famously said when he was running for office in 2008 that he would sit down with rural castro, face-to-face to talk about our differences, now is going to have that opportunity and between now and april really is the time when the lessons of the history are put under this one cover of this book can be applied to a face-to-face meeting between the president of cuba and the president of the united states for the first time since the cuban revolution. >> william leogrande, to what extent do you think what you have discovered about this back channel diplomacy, these of intermediaries between the u.s. and cuba, is similar to what the u.s. might also have been doing with other countries with which it has hostile relations, for instance, iran, north korea, etc.? >> i think presidents always liked use back channels, private enoyvs like j paul lost and in
part because they don't entirely trust the layers of bureaucracy don't the information filtered so they sit down -- send down and emissary they feel has personal confidence and it is also less likely to leak than if you go through the regular yurok receipt where there are always people opposed to your policy or willing to leak it to congress or the president. i think the president has always used private emissaries in that regard. they even use secret diplomatic because you can't negotiate some of these tough issues in public because of the kinds of compromises that have to be made. i think cuba is different, though. i think there's been more of this in the case of our relations with cuba because we don't have formal diplomatic relations with cuba. we still don't technically recognize the cuban government, even though we have u.s. diplomats in the interest section in havana. and because the cuban is just dust issue has been so hot politically in the u.s. for so long, presidents have had
special incentive not to lead the secret dialogues with cuba get out in public. >> this obsession the u.s. has had with cuba, what is the force hugeis behind -- even businesses, multinational companies want to do business with a country that is 90 miles off of our sure. what is been the most successful force and how do you think that will be countered? yet president obama and nelson mandela's funeral shaking hands, very big deal was made of this with raul castro. >> just that handshake seems so symbolic because presidents of these two countries had never publicly been together, talk to in all of in any way these decades. cuba is really one of the most intractable foreign-policy ofues in the modern history u.s. world relations. historic, kindhe
of imperial attitude of the united states toward cuba pre-revolution and towards all of latin america, quite frankly, smaller countries which we have assumed we could control. the cubanfidel castro revolution say, guess what, you can control is even though we are small country. we're going to be independent and have our own political system and are owned foreign-policy. because -- course, it evolved into a domestic political issue. hardliners in the senate and commerce basically do the challenge to any real move on to the policy. >> do you think president obama was to change the policy? >> i personally do think his >> i personally do think his team would like to c
you introduce the man and the woman. and then you complicate it for the next 60, 70 minutes. you know they're going to get together, but it's fun to watch how they keep missing. we all go through cycles of believing in love and not believing in love. but i think we want believe in love. characters change, their attitudes change, theipolitics change but their heart stays the me. annenberg media ♪ and: with additional ndingfrom s and individuals: